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Bainiaoyi, wearable epic of Miao nationality | 飞越深山苗寨的百鸟衣


Photo: Wang Bingzhen 王炳真 摄


  Bainiaoyi, or hundred-bird costume, is mostly worn by the Miao people living in Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture, SW China's Guizhou Province. The costume is decorated with celebrated Miao embroidery, a craft that has been listed as one of the national intangible cultural heritages. It has diversified colors and unique patterns and has been known as the wearable epic of Miao nationality.


  苗族百鸟衣主要流传于贵州省黔东南一带,由国家级非物质文化遗产“苗绣”刺绣而成,色彩艳丽,图案古朴奇特,被称为“穿在身上的苗族史诗”。


Photo: Wang Bingzhen 王炳真 摄


  Songlong village in Danzhai county is a branch of Ganao Miao nationality and has been famous for Bainiaoyi. "Ganao" in the Miao language means "tribe of birds". For them, the costume is a representation of their migration history throughout history, a witness of local textile culture, and a living fossil of Miao farming civilization.


  丹寨县送陇村属于嘎闹苗族支系,百鸟衣最为出名,“嘎闹”在苗语中是“鸟的部族”之意。是千百年来苗族迁徙史的记录,是纺织文化的见证,也是苗族农耕文明的活化石。


Photo: Yang Qian 杨倩 摄


  As a general term for festival attires, Bainiaoyi is called "Ouhuayong" for men and "Ouhuanao" for women in the Miao language. Ouhuayong is mostly decorated with the abstracted patterns of ox&dragon or snake&dragon, while Ouhuanao features bainiao(birds) patterns. "Bai" means one hundred, but it is only an approximate number——that is, the number of birds embroidered on the clothes is not necessarily over one hundred; "niao", which means birds, here generally refers to various flying objects, such as butterflies.


  百鸟衣作为节庆华服的统称,在苗语里,男装叫“欧花勇”,女装叫“欧花闹”。欧花勇多由抽象的牛龙或蛇龙等图案组成,欧花闹则绣百鸟图案。“百”只是概数,百鸟衣上绣的鸟少则几十,多则上百;“鸟”的品类也是泛指,蝴蝶之类能飞的物象也包括在内。



  Bainiaoyi's patterns of butterflies, birds, fish, flowers, and dragons have all been abstracted from natural objects. Miao people venerate nature, so they embroider these patterns on clothes to repose their sincere and positive outlook on life and convey the ideas of mutual respect, coexistence, equality, and harmony between mankind and nature.


  百鸟衣服饰中,所有的蝴蝶纹、鸟纹、鱼纹、花草纹、龙纹等,都运用大自然中的生物特征。苗族人崇尚自然,寄托着原始而又真挚积极的生命观,传达了一种万物有灵、万命同源、众生平等、和谐共处的理念。


Photo: Yang Qian 杨倩 摄


Photo: Yang Qian 杨倩 摄


Photo: Wang Bingzhen 王炳真 摄



  Author: Cai Dongwu

  Source: 《全域旅游》杂志

  Editor: Wang Ziyi

  Senior Editor: Min Jie